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I have written before on the benefit of owning a dog for your health. I miss my poodle every day but I am still holding back from getting another one as I keep thinking of how often we just pop away for a day or a weekend now. It is difficult to make a big decision like this but it doesn’t have to be a dog. It can be a cat, a hamster, a rabbit even a fish which is something I did buy myself this year. I put a whisky barrel with plants in at the bottom of the garden and introduced four goldfish to a new home.

Every morning when I go to feed them they come right to the top and nearly take the food out of my hand. They are very easy to look after as you can buy food that you can pop into the tank that can last as long as you are away. My plan is to move them into a new fish tank indoor before the weather gets too cold but I must admit I do enjoy every second of the little bit of care they need, and my granddaughter loves to feed them when she comes over.

According to Pain New Network, having chronic pain causes significant and daily challenges that can make life miserable, leading to depression and anxiety. As many people discovered during the pandemic, adopting a pet can be therapeutic, positively enhance your life, and may even reduce pain levels.

Other types of pets (like dogs and cats) are great little companions, but during bad days, when your pain strikes, they are always nearby, providing comfort, love and affection, and stroking them has an instant relaxation effect for you both.

Pain News Network went on to say that according to Dr. Steven Richeimer, a professor of anesthesiology at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, pets help relieve chronic pain by keeping us active and making us feel less stressed. 

“In my practice as a pain management specialist, I’ve heard numerous accounts of pets improving the lives of patients living with chronic pain and diminishing the depression that often accompanies it,” Richeimer wrote in Spine Universe. “There’s no doubt in my mind that having a pet — or interacting with a trained therapy dog or cat — can improve a pain patient’s quality of life. Animal companionship is a natural pain reliever, and a substantial body of research supports this theory.” 

One study of fibromyalgia patients found that just 10 to 15 minutes of petting a therapy dog lowered levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Patients also reported significant improvement in their pain, mood and distress after a therapy dog visit.  

As I have written there is without doubt proof that getting a pet, if you are financially and physically able to provide for one, can be beneficial to you physically and can improve your emotional state.

Another article I wrote about this was “Let Your Pet Help People in Pain“, here a link to another website which supports pets for people in pain and with disabilities, Support Dogs.

Source: Pain News Network Back Pain Blog UK Support Dogs

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World Spine Day took place on October 16th 2021. To raise awareness of this I put together over twenty tips on how to keep your spine healthy which was posted onto To Better Days website, or you can read it below.

1.Always bend you knees when lifting ‘anything’ and keep your stomach pulled in and hold the item close to you.

2. Avoid excess weight, as this puts a lot of pressure on your spine. Eat a balanced diet that includes anti-inflammatory foods and vitamin D to keep your bones strong.

3. Watch your postures, especially if you sit down a lot. Take regular breaks to walk around and stretch out.

4. Stay as active as possible, walking and swimming are great for people suffering from back pain.

5. Try to keep your feel flat on the floor when you are working at a desk and practice good ergonomics while sitting—and limit total sitting time.

6. Only wear high heels for special occasions as they put a strain on your spine.

7. Pop a cushion or towel behind your back for long car journeys and make sure you stop for regular breaks.

8. If you are moving home then pack smaller boxes instead of larger ones, disassemble furniture to make it lighter and plan to use a cart or dolly if needed.

9. Improving the strength in your back is very important to long term back pain relief. With light exercise, you can loosen any tightness in the muscles and ease any pain you may be struggling with. Start slowly with your exercise, gradually increasing the amount you do each week until it becomes something you want to do rather than a chore.

10. Stay flexible, if you are desk bound, move around every 30 minutes, do not get chained to your desk.

11. Have a deep tissue massage as this can help back pain a great deal but make sure whoever gives it to you is fully qualified.

12. Stay hydrated.

13. For the women, don’t carry your life around in your handbag.

14. For the men, don’t carry too much in your computer bag.

15. Do not smoke, it has been proven that people who smoke are more likely to have lower back pain.

16. Never twist and bend at the same time.

17. When brushing your teeth rinse with a cup of water, don’t bend, it’s a classic position to trigger low back pain.

18. When getting out of bed, lie on your side, raise your head then put your feet on the floor and lift yourself into a sitting position.

19. Ask for help. See if a family member, friend or neighbour might go shopping with you to reach those hard-to-reach items. Ask for help if you are on your own. My husband shops with me every week as most of the time I can’t reach the items and I do need his help.

20. Let your spine really rest while sleeping.

21. Talk to your doctor about over-the-counter medications for controlling pain and inflammation.